Cheri's Blog

The Source of All Comfort

source of all comfort

The Source of All Comfort

by Cheri Strange

Not long ago, I met some new friends because we were sharing the platform to tell our stories about how loneliness has impacted our lives. We were going to share the couch and testify to how God has liberated us from the bondage of it looking at it from our own perspectives and experiences. Their stories were moving. Even tragic at times. All cried when we heard them for the first time. We each had been living different lives, some single, others married, some without children, others with, well a lot, but it became clear there was a common theme: God is the source of all comfort when the days are dark.

Between our first meeting and actually sitting on that stage, one of our own in this ministry and a dear friend experienced her own calamity and will bury family members unexpectantly. Another dear friend said goodbye to her father on this planet the following day. And those are the things I know about in my circle.

These women are living out 2 Corinthian 2:3-4 from the marrow of their bones.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

We knew God as the source of all comfort

We knew it like our own pajamas. But none of us wanted to know it or to have the ability to comfort others based on our experiences. No one wants the testimony that requires us to need this kind of comfort. Not one of us wants the know-how to be able to give it to someone else in need.

Once in an interview, I heard Steven C. Chapman’s wife put words to this sentiment. The interview came after losing their five-year-old daughter, Maria, in a tragic accident. She said that people would say things like, “God has a plan,” “Just remember, ‘All things work together for good,’” and “Just think of all the people you will be able to help.” Her response was spot on. She said that she knows and that she gets all that. “I JUST WANT HER BACK.”

On the couch

On the couch beside me sat a powerhouse of a woman who lost her spouse in a calamity none of us would sign up for. She said something similar. In essence, she said, “I want my old life back. I don’t want to be on this couch.” She quoted these verses from 2 Corinthians and talked about how she didn’t want to be able to do this for people. But God absolutely showed up for her, as The source of all comfort when comfort seemed unreachable–just like He promised. In her worst unimaginable reality, God demonstrated Himself to be who He says He is: The God of All Comfort. The God who has been there at every turn.

I don’t know what you are facing or will face tomorrow. Regardless, we need to know Who He is. The God of the Bible is the God of all comfort, the God of all sympathy. He is THE SOURCE of every comfort we need. Unequivocably, He just is.

He is the Source of Every Comfort

God of all comfortWe may not want to need Him to be this for us, but aren’t we thankful He is this kind of God?

These verses come to us as a prayer. A prayer that looks squarely into the deep neediness of the human condition, aiming it to the only One who can meet such need. And that would be enough. The request, then, continues, as if to say, “Lord, don’t make all this awfulness of what we must endure be for nothing. Use it. Use it to serve another who is going through what we have gone through. Let the journey be a testimony to who You are, and what You can do in our worst situations.”

Because this is a prayer, I want to pray it over you—the one who needs to be reminded of The Only True Source of Comfort that exists. The one who can do more than we ask and meet our neediness.

A Prayer for the Source of All Comfort

she praysLord God, I come to You right now thanking you for being what no one else can be, and for doing what no one else can do. I pray for my friend reading that she might begin to understand and know you as the Father of sympathy. That you will be for her, the God Who is the Source of every comfort, every consolation, and every encouragement.

I ask that you will encourage her, comfort her, console her in every trouble or calamity or affliction she may be experiencing or will in the future. And that when you have done so, give her the strength and wisdom to take what she has received  and give it to those who  desperately need it. Heal us to see those around us who need Your comfort, Lord, and move us to act on your behalf.

In the Name of Jesus, and For Your Glory, Amen.

For His Glory,

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The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

If you like She Prays for battling fear you will like finding light

Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

If you like Truths Jesus Taught you will like finding light

 

 

 

 

 

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

 when to quit

Responding to Times of Trouble

times of trouble

Responding to Times of Trouble

Welcome to the She Prays on Friday edition, spotlighting Scripture and praying it over you. My aim is for your strengthening and equipping making this the most encouraging FIVE MINUTES of your day.

This week I am celebrating my thirtieth wedding anniversary. That man and I have been through some stuff across the years. There have been moments I would not trade for anything. Lots of them, and for these, I am ever grateful. There is no one on the planet I would prefer to do life with. But as you can imagine, married life has not always been a string of blissful days and nights. Yet, as I look back on our history together, the difficulties have been necessary to make us into the people we are today. And a right response to the times of trouble, various trials, and difficulties, as I look back, is gratitude.

Trouble and Blessing

Your life and mine can reflect this same combination of trouble mixed with blessing. Can you think of a time when it seemed everything was wrong or there was no way out? But God was present, showing Himself faithful. Or maybe you can recall a time when you were in a bad spot (emotionally, or physically) and you felt His presence or His working in the midst of the badness, walking you through the mess? On the other side, you can now recognize how your God has been with you, to strengthen you, mold you, prune what needs to go away, and refine you by means you and I likely would not choose.

These seasons or situations often leave us more fervent and faithful, equipped with a faith we didn’t have before. You and I come to know more of God, His character, and presence in our lives we would otherwise miss. What, then, should be our response to this sort of testing?

What Should be our Response for Times of Trouble?

Consider Psalm 66:5-12. It’s as if the Psalmist is writing to another person, like the dialogue you and I experience today. He is passionate and succinct, using just a few words. So, in these moments we have together, I want to pick up on that passion, sharing these words with you, for our prayer and your encouragement.

Scripture for Responding to Trouble

Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.
For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
And you brought us into the net;
Laying a crushing burden on our backs;
you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance. Psalm 66:5-12

A Right Response to Times of Trouble

Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. (vs. 5)

From the outset, the writer beckons the audience in close, to see with their minds and hearts what God has accomplished in their midst. They were not there to experience these wonders – but they have been the benefactors. These didn’t see the people cross the Red Sea or walk across it themselves, but they are a part of the community that came from that legacy.

Then he brings the situation closer to home, helping the hearer raise her eyes upward. Bless God and let Him hear your praises. Then he gives us some reasons that are not locked away in a history book or grandpa’s storytime.

who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip. (Vs. 9)

Praise God for keeping you alive

Think of all your near misses with calamity and death. Personally, I’ve walked away from a plane crash, a few car accidents, and tornadoes. From what I understand, I wasn’t even supposed to make it out of the hospital alive as an infant. I’m sure you can think of similar accounts. If you are breathing, it’s on purpose for a purpose. Girl, Praise God!

Praise God for the Testing

The Psalmist moves to something you and I don’t always like to reflect upon or raise our hands in the air to celebrate: the hard good.

For you, O God, have tested us; And you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net, laying a crushing burden on our backs;
you let men ride over our heads, we went through fire and through water; (vs. 9-12)

times of trouble storiesIn other words

In other words, the writer expresses how God has put them through adversity. Trouble that has been at times, unbearable, varied, and seemingly constant, like one hard thing after another. I wouldn’t have done it His way. I might even say, “I don’t like His way.” It’s been awful at times. Crushing, painful, and difficult. Problems and predicaments out of our control, like fire and water. Let’s not skip over it and pretend it never happened.

This is not a complaint. We know this because of verse 12.

Yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

I don’t believe the Psalmist is pointing to a particular location on this planet absent of drama, problem-free, with no more nets. He knows these things are necessary. Through the experiences, there is abundance. Reliance on Jesus through the mess–looking upward rather than focusing on what doesn’t last is the key. It’s a change in focus to look beyond the test.

This one is a prayer that turns our eyes upward, speaking these things back to God. And if we are in the middle of difficulties, we can ask Him to be true to this word. We can also pray this right response to times of trouble over someone else, which is what I aim to do for you.

Praying a Right Response in Times of Trouble

she praysLord,

Today, at this moment, I bless your Name. I thank you for the mighty works you have done to get us here today – praying and able to know your Word freely. More specifically, I thank you for the life of my friend listening. For your perfect purposes, you have preserved her. Help her live in complete assurance and freedom – There is no accident, coincidence, or mistake that you have provided for her presence, her abilities, her availabilities, and her positioning.

And to more ready her and equip her – to show her to Whom she belongs – you have tested her. And You may be testing her now – allowing her to experience untold difficulties, strains, and struggles we cannot alleviate. Right now, Lord, I pray that you give her the strength to rely on You, to see through to the end,  to keep her eyes bend upward, to not give up or give in to discouragement–but to see on beyond the trouble toward Your abundance whatever that looks like from Your perspective.

In the glorious and unmatched name of Jesus.

Amen

For His Glory,

You can download these four prints today to accompany The Journey for Waiting Well, gain access to all of Cheri’s free resources, AND begin receiving regular encouragement in your inbox.

Yes, I'd love to receive encouraging e-mails from Cheri
When you sign up, you will receive 4, 5x5 Waiting Well digital printables. I look forward to meeting you inside the community! 

Cheri
We respect your privacy.

Don’t forget to check out the latest FREE reading plan available from YouVersion?

She has over TWENTY different reading plans for you to choose from. Just click on the images below to check it out:

The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

If you like She Prays for battling fear you will like finding light

Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

If you like Truths Jesus Taught you will like finding light

 

 

 

 

 

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

 when to quit

A Prayer for Strong Hands

strong hands

Prayer for Strong Hands

She Prays on Friday with Cheri Strange

Several of my daughters are “grown and flown,” off other places, doing what God has called them to do in this season of their lives. Within the last week, each of them has called to mention how tired they are. There is still much work to do, but little to no drive or energy to do it. Today I want to focus on a Scripture to pray that provides for this need of strong hands to finish what we have been called to do.

These interactions with my girls reminded me of the first time I ran a marathon. I’m not an athlete, but I can put one foot in front of the other for a long time. The training program required long runs each weekend leading up to the race, up to twenty miles. One race day, I put one foot in front of the other for my twenty miles, and realized, there were 6.2 more to go. For slowpokes like me, that left another hour of running, and I was out of steam. In those final miles, my energy was so depleted, I didn’t know if I needed to cry, use the restroom, or spit. My inner drive was gone, my body spent—just like you might feel today.

What can we do when we are exhausted or emotionally empty, and there is still more responsibility before us?

Scripture for Strong Hands

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? Hebrews 12:3-5

 Therefore, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:11-12

The writer of Hebrews is familiar with our pain.

He has spent the greater part of the letter lovingly warning his readers not to drift away from a fervent relationship with the Lord. The first verses speak of Jesus, “Consider him who…” This passage is coming on the heels of a series of testimonies about those who demonstrated tremendous faith. He knows we need their example to help us stay on course in our own spiritual races, enduring to the end. And it’s about mile 19.

Those entrusted to him are getting tired. He knows it. They are wanting to quit. So, he points them to Jesus to make sure they are clear on the standard, rather than some lesser measurement.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself

The writer makes a point. “I know you are tired. I know it’s been hard. You don’t think you can take much more, but don’t throw in the towel! Don’t go sit the bench! Do not quit! Don’t walk away thinking this is never going to work just because you haven’t seen it work yet!” Instead, look to someone who has made it across the finish line and now cheers you on to keep going.

Consider Jesus

Jesus did not quit. He did not sit out on the hard plays. Jesus didn’t fake an injury or tell anyone where they could shove their nails. He put one foot in front of the other (so to speak) until He crossed the finish line.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

strong handsA couple of years ago, (before the world shut down), my daughter, Sophia, and I met up with a group in Kenya to go on safari. But it was quite a drive from Nairobi out to the reserve. We were closed inside a  vehicle driving down the center of what looked like solid pavement when suddenly and often, the driver veered off the path to the right or the left to what was NOT a road. Constantly we would bounce around that dirt path until the driver crossed OVER the nice paved road onto the opposite side to do the same thing. We did this back and forth up and down weaving in and around on dirt, through mud and rocks for five or six hours.

There was a straight path available, we just didn’t take it.

Sometimes life can feel like my trek into the savannah. We need this Word to be living in us. Today, let us begin asking for it.

she praysA Prayer for Strong Hands

Lord, I come before you today on behalf of my friend who is reading. I ask that You remind her of the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, and what He endured for her. The jeering, the torture, the scorn, the brutality, the reprehensible treatment He willingly received without so much as a jerk. Give her a picture of what He has done for her so that she will gain strength from His perfect love and obedience. Do not let her quit because she’s tired and spent.

Lord, invigorate her with Your strength. Enable her to lift her hands once again, and bring power to her knees. She cannot do it on her own. She needs You. And even though she might see the straight path and cross over it a few times, make her feet to stay on it, so that the rocky places that have hurt her and caused her pain in the past will be healed.

In the glorious and powerfully able Name of Jesus,

Amen

For His Glory,

You can download these four prints today to accompany The Journey for Waiting Well, gain access to all of Cheri’s free resources, AND begin receiving regular encouragement in your inbox.

Yes, I'd love to receive encouraging e-mails from Cheri
When you sign up, you will receive 4, 5x5 Waiting Well digital printables. I look forward to meeting you inside the community! 

Cheri
We respect your privacy.

Don’t forget to check out the latest FREE reading plan available from YouVersion?

She has over TWENTY different reading plans for you to choose from. Just click on the images below to check it out:

The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

If you like She Prays for battling fear you will like finding light

Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

If you like Truths Jesus Taught you will like finding light

 

 

 

 

 

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

 when to quit

Teach Me, Lord

teach me, lord

Teach Me, Lord

She Prays Friday

Welcome to the She Prays Friday edition of the blog, which seeks to be some of the most encouraging FIVE minutes of your Fridays, straight from the Word of God. I’m so glad you are here, and extremely hope-filled that these moments will serve to be a blessing in your life; and that they will encourage you to look toward using the Word of God as a tool in your own devotional life as you pray.

Psalm 86:11-13

Teach me your way, O LORD,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.


I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

I really want to focus on verse 11.

Teach me your way, O LORD,
that I may walk in your truth;

There is much for us in the first two lines. It brings to light, at least three contemporary issues.

Issue #1

Sure. You and I can read the Bible, attend Bible study, participate in some spiritual group online, go to church, or even attend Sunday School. We can do all these things and learn more about God—yet never take on His ways or actually walk in His truth. In order to walk these out, day by day, He must illuminate His ways and His truth to us. Otherwise, it’s just ordinary knowledge.

Issue #2

Maybe you’ve got questions–things in your life, like me, that are hanging “out there” that the world is shoving in our faces, and we need to know what the Bible teaches. What should a follower of Jesus believe? How are you and I supposed to discern the matter?

Relying on the Internet is out. Even though my pastor is on target with Scripture, our spiritual leaders do not dictate truth. The Psalmist makes no bones about it. The Lord is to be our teacher.

This is our daily dilemma because whatever is making its way into the headlines, or dominating social media outlets, finding a place in the news and printed articles, is likely not lining up with Scripture. Most of the time, popular opinion runs contrary to the very fabric of Christianity. Holding the questions out and asking them is not the problem, but allowing other sources to influence what you and I in turn, believe–that’s where the rub occurs.

I get it. The temptation is real. I like the societal solutions often better than the Word of God. I find myself in less controversy socially. Frankly, their answers are more palatable than the Bible. What we learn here — is that MY truth will not due. YOUR truth should be rejected. This is what the Psalmist is conveying. In the culture in which we live, you and I desperately need God to teach us.

Issue #3

Too often, I am at a loss for knowing what to do. There are big situations brewing in my life, as they are likely brewing in yours. I haven’t the foggiest how to proceed. I’m in a holding pattern, with nothing to do but wait and trust that these words will be true for me in what is coming for the future. Because I simply don’t know what to do —  I need God to teach me His ways and His truth.

unite my heart to fear your name.

I must say, the Psalmist nails this one. This is a prayer AGAINST his distracted self. He’s all Helter-Skelter in his heart and mind–just like me, and just like you. This line resonates. How I need to bring my thoughts and all that I seek under one focus. To remind me of what is most important — with all my faculties falling under this one banner. Do I need help with this? You bet!

Maybe you do, too.

teach me, Lord pin

The following verses are a response to the Psalmist’s request, thanking God with an acknowledgment of Who He is and what He has done in their life. What an instrumental and timely model for us.

Today, I pray for the one who is like me. The one who recognizes her need for bigger answers than she holds — and who wants fervently to stay on the path of biblical truth.

 

 

 

A “Teach Me, Lord” Prayer

Lord,

I come before You, asking for help. There is so much we do not know how to face or which direction to go. And we need You to teach us. Would You use whatever means necessary to teach my friend what to do in the situations she is facing? Whatever that looks like for her, I ask You to make the way known? Make it plain so that she can see it and tell the difference between what You want and everything else. And when ideas or campaigns or promotions come across the landscape of her life, would you give her discernment, leading her to exactly what You say about the issues? Give her courage to stand against her own understanding and that of the majority to follow You, walking in your truth.

In the glorious and powerfully able Name of Jesus,

Amen.

Be sure to stop by FB or Instagram and say hello!

Thanks for stopping by. I pray we meet again soon.

For His Glory,

 

 

Have you discovered Cheri on YouVersion?

She has over TWENTY different reading plans for you to choose from, such as:

If you like the Journey you will like Finding Light

If you like She Prays for battling fear you will like finding light

   

Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

If you like Truths Jesus Taught you will like finding light

 

 

 

 

 

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

Becoming a Stronger You when to quit

Do Not Waste These Gray Hairs

Don't Waste These Gray Hairs Blog

Don’t Waste These Gray Hairs

The She Prays Friday edition of the blog seeks to be some of the most encouraging FIVE minutes of your Fridays, straight from the Word of God. Welcome. I’m so glad you are here because today is extra special. It’s my birthday (and I’m not 29–not even close). I have a few gray hairs. And with these and the passing of time, there is the fear of becoming irrelevant. Today’s Scripture screams my sentiments about my age at this stage in life, and maybe your own: Lord, don’t waste these gray hairs! 

Psalm 71:17-18

O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.

So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come. 

I am experiencing another turning of the clock, becoming a much older version of myself. This birthday is not a Big One, just another one. Sort of like our Psalmist, I have been reflecting on the reality of life and the passing of time. Here the author ponders his reality, that God has been with him teaching him, growing him in his character, and allowing him to experience the wonders of who God is and what He does—which enables him to tell other people just how great God is.

And this has been fulfilling.

So much so, this is what he does not want to stop. The Psalmist fears, much like you and I might fear, in the quietness of our own hearts–that we will get passed over. Replaced. Not picked anymore, because we are too old. No one wants to listen. What could we possibly have to offer?

While this may be true when it comes to fashion (as I refuse the high wasted movement from the ’80s), keeping up with the latest technology trends, or advising people about what entity sells the best kale and chi tea.

Like the Psalmist…

Don't Waste These Gray Hairs StoryMy heart’s cry is not about all that. I don’t need to be so cool, and you likely feel the same way. More than anything, I want God to keep me relevant enough to proclaim His glory, His goodness, His mercy, His compassion, and His overall Ableness–to the next generation AND BEYOND. “You can take a lot of things, but please don’t take that!” This is the essence of the Psalmist’s prayer.

I don’t know if you have ever felt this way, holding a passion to continue passing on what God has done beyond your own experience–but it is a gift worth asking God to continue to give.

Today, I pray for the one who is a believer who is filled with the desires articulated in the verses in Psalm 71. I am going to pray the Scripture over you much like I have prayed it over myself for the last few years.

A “Don’t Waste These Gray Hairs” Prayer

Lord,

Today I pray over my friend reading as one who knows You. She is one of Your own children. I thank you that You have been with her to teach her, showing Yourself to her, so that she knows of Your wonders and mercy and greatness. I thank you for her willingness to share You with others so much so that THIS IS HER HEART.

As time keeps marching onward, the years are passing. Entropy is setting in. Age is much more apparent, and the fears of getting passed by in so many areas creep in. Let this not be so with YOU. Do not forsake Your own, Lord. Not until she has proclaimed Your greatness to another generation, and your power to ALL those to come.

This is a hefty request because ALL MEANS ALL. But You, alone, are able to make this a reality in her life. I ask that you be gracious to her and give her this blessing.

In the glorious and powerfully able Name of Jesus,

Amen. So be it.

Be sure to stop by FB or Instagram to wish me a happy gray-headed Birthday (LOL), and remind me to keep my eyes right here–focused on God’s willingness to give what we have asked.

Thanks for stopping by. I pray we meet again soon.

For His Glory,

 

 

Have you discovered Cheri on YouVersion where she has over TWENTY different reading plans for you to choose from, such as:

If you like the Journey you will like Finding Light

If you like She Prays for battling fear you will like finding light

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

If you like Truths Jesus Taught you will like finding light

 

 

 

 

 

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

Becoming a Stronger You when to quit

 

 

 

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